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The Straight Ally Part 3: Taking a Stand; My Coming Out Letter

This is the final of three entries for The Straight Ally. Refer back to parts 1 and 2 for the full story; The Origins of Misunderstanding and Transitioning and Transforming . This is my official story on coming out as a Straight Ally

I welcomed this new year with open arms. 2013 promises great things for my life and my family, one of them being that I am finally living a life with clarity, understanding, and true compassion. I experienced first hand the fact the inquiry invites advocacy and that knowledge is power. As I had grown and progressed in my journey though there had been one huge gaping chasm that I had been ignoring; my mother. Along with a host of other topics this was certainly one that I knew without a shadow of a doubt she and I would not see eye to eye on. I have mentioned in previous posts and am currently working on an upcoming post that addresses my relationship to my mother at greater length so for brevities sake I will focus solely on our inevitable clash over my LGBT advocacy.

Aside from remarks here and there over the last several years I had never directly taken up this issue with my mother. I had never had the provocation to do so until just last month when a gay relative contacted my sibling to share that my mother had written him with a heavy handed dose of spiritual advice. This created a festering wound amongst my siblings and me as we mulled over it and discussed in horror that our mother would do such a thing. Until this point she had never been so direct and outspoken on this issue. She handled controversial and uncomfortable discussions relating to “sins of a sexual nature” not by direct conversation, but rather with gradual influence of attitude and tone showing her obvious disapproval. I remember riding in the car with my family during their visit to California in 2009. We yielded for a lesbian couple who crossed the street arm-in-arm as my mother clutched her Bible and muttered verses like incantations that would protect us from the evil influence displayed so unapologetically.

After weeks of agonizing over how to respond to my mother– sometimes questioning if I even should– I decided that I would write her a letter. This would be my official coming out as a Straight Ally. I sat down and watched For The Bible Tells Me So once again before I started writing. This time I tried to watch it with her perspective in mind. I tried to empathize with her view and make some sense of her belief. One would think it would not be such a challenge to understand where she is coming from since this is where I spent nearly 30 years of my life as well, but I wanted to be sure I was sitting down to write her with an attitude of compassion and a desire to open up productive dialog. I did not want to shut her down within the first paragraph. So I wrote and I rewrote. I proof read. And finally I was prepared to send it. I ordered a copy of the film, doubting that she would be willing to watch it but hoping there would be some small chance she would let down her guard long enough to hear me out. Besides, if I didn’t give her a chance then I could very well be underestimating and limiting her propensity for change.

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From what I am told she received her letter just a few short days later. She refused to read it. Instead she burned it– an outward expression of her hostility and anger at the thought of even  considering another’s view. We have not had one conversation since that day. She left me a very forced, formal voice mail barely even acknowledging that I had written. She has declined to return any of my calls since. I am experiencing utter disappointment mixed with hurt laden with disgust that after a decade of sending me hand written letters of condemnation and chastisement she would not even give me the courtesy of entertaining my carefully prepared letter to her.

This has not been an easy time for her as she has had to deal not only with my attempt to reason with her, but also heavy hearted conversations from my siblings as well. I know that she is reeling, most likely feeling like she has failed as a parent. She is being faced right now with the outward expressions from her children that contradict every effort she made to train us up in the likeness of God. I am not angry at her. I do feel sorry for her, but the act of burning my letter pains me and makes me wonder if there will ever be an honest, productive dialog between us.

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Over the past weeks I have been feeling such emotion over this strain in our family. I know how many times it has been helpful to me to read other peoples letters to their parents coming out as gay or blog postings as a Straight Ally, so I have decided that if my mother refuses to engage in a respectful discussion, if she is chooses not to hear the pleadings of her children, perhaps someone else’s mother will. Maybe there will be solace in sharing with others who are embarking on similar journeys. So without further ado I will share with you my greatest stand as a Straight Ally.

To my beloved mother, January 23, 2013

I have spent the last two weeks with knots in my stomach, trying to decide how to communicate my heartache and upset with you. Without beating around the bush, I keep in contact with (our cousins) and we have been in communication about the letter you sent them over the holidays. When I first read the words on my screen I felt a deep shock of pain shoot through me. I had to sit and read and reread the words that were written by you. I felt angry, shocked, and disappointed. “God does not let those who turn against the way he created them into the kingdom of heaven…”

I have spent the last several weeks really considering my reaction to this and trying to decide what course of action I would take. I haven’t called or been in communication, as I have really not known what I wanted to say. So after much thought and unrest I decided that I should write this letter.

Your words were deeply, deeply hurtful. Not just to (our cousins) but also to the family that supports them and even the extended family that shares a similar experience and like-mindedness. I have spent the last several years putting an incredible amount of time and research into this subject and I cannot stand by silently when I see someone being persecuted for who they are, who they were born to be, or even dare I say, who they were created to be. I understand every argument you may pose on this topic. I know them well you see, because I am my mother’s daughter. I was raised under very diligent instruction. So when this topic of homosexuality became personal to me, close and within my inner circle, I had to take a step back and look at it from a neutral perspective. I knew the arguments of the fundamentalist and evangelic church, what I didn’t know was the other side. I was very familiar with Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22, the passages in Genesis 18 and 19 about Sodom and Gomorrah, and even Romans 1:26. What I did not know was what explanation the rest of the population had on this subject.

So I set out to find answers. Are we born straight or gay? Is it a choice? Are homosexuals’ perverted sexual deviants? Does reparative therapy have any grounds? Can a gay be a Christian? Please understand my intention with this letter is not to sway your views, not to argue my perspective, not even to change your belief. Such a motive would be a waste of both of our time. Instead I am writing to tell you how I feel. I am writing to open up lines of communication in hopes for better understanding of one another and in turn, a deeper relationship that is based on honesty and fostered in love.

This past September you and I had what I feel was the most honest discussion we have ever had in my life. I was able to articulate to you my feelings and perspectives with a boldness I have never expressed before. Did it hurt to hear it and hurt to have to say it? Sure, but I had come to an impasse. I could either chose to except a surface level, formal relationship or I could speak up in hopes of propelling our relationship forward onto an even playing field where we can strive towards a mutual respect of one another’s differences and just love one another. Because, as I said then, isn’t the fact that we love each other enough to sustain a relationship? Even if we cant agree on politics, religion, or even some parenting strategies, you are my mother and that is reason enough for me to invest myself into having a good relationship that is built on love.

I have come to a 180 degree change on my views and opinion of homosexuality. I joined (my local) PFLAG chapter (Parents & Families of Lesbians and Gays) seeking support and wanting to gain more understanding. I have felt such heart ache knowing how many, many gay people are mistreated, even persecuted for simply being who they are. It literally makes me ill to see precious, wonderful people being singled out and treated with such contempt. I have asked myself time and time again, “Can’t people see the damage and pain they are causing with their words? Don’t they see the long lasting & far reaching effects their intolerance is causing in the lives of others?” I have found myself at times feeling angry and even feeling a strong disdain for conservatives who oppose my supportive view of people who are gay. Until one day someone pointed out to me that my desire for tolerance had allowed me to become intolerant of anyone who held a different view than I did.

That was hard to digest. Its something I am still processing and striving to balance. I proudly consider myself an activist; I am a Straight Ally for the gay movement and I am very focused on equality. The gay movement is indeed the civil rights movement of our era… but still- I would be hypocritical in wearing my “NO HATE” t-shirt if I am harboring contempt against those who are not supportive of the cause. This is still a growing process for me as words of intolerance and hatred, or even the well-intended words from my mother evoke a strong reaction from me. I feel protective of those that I love and I feel such deep sympathy for those who suffer under the conditional love and dogmatism of those around them.

But yet, at the same time I am learning to feel empathy towards those who are unapologetic of projecting their views onto others, insisting that they have a god given right to dispense unsolicited advice at the expense of another’s happiness. Someplace behind my anger and defensiveness I can see a glimpse of myself, a glimpse of the person that I used to be, and my heart softens a bit. I can look on with a measure of compassion for others who so flippantly pass judgment and advice because I have stood in their shoes. This journey to understanding or even acceptance of something that is so foreign to the heterosexual fundamentalist mindset is deeply personal and completely individual. I had to come to terms with this in my own time, in my own way, so I must respect the journeys of others. You will not agree with anything I have said here, I know that is an absolute. My intention is not to argue my views; I simply need to tell you how I feel. I am my mother’s daughter and I too need to speak about what burdens my heart, not with the intention of causing pain but because I believe in this idealistic relationship between us where love is the foundation.

It seems awkward to communicate so openly with you. There is something engrained in me that says its unnatural to speak against ones own mother. But just as I said in September and I am saying again today, I would rather have a shot at a relationship that is genuine than suffer silently in a relationship that has no real sincerity or substance. I can’t go forward harboring hurts or being afraid to simply be myself or be allowed to live my life freely with my own views and goals. I don’t want to be in a relationship that is conditional, where affection and love can be removed for the crime of individual thinking and free thought. In the same regards, I would never ask for something that I couldn’t give in return. We should be mutually free to peruse our interests and live by our convictions without it diminishing the bond we share as mother and daughter.

So the intent of this letter is to simply express my perspective and attempt to call to your attention the hurt that has been inflicted by your letter. I know in my heart that you truly, truly intended only good with your penned words, but they have had the opposite effect of driving a wedge between that branch of our extended family and our portion of family members who will unknowingly wonder why (they) no longer feel comfortable returning. I am not sure what kind of restitution could be done with them, but I have offered my sincere apologies for the injury that has been caused.

The only thing that I ask of you is that you would be willing to spend 196 minutes of your time to watch the enclosed film, For The Bible Tells Me So. I say 196 minutes because I am asking you to view it twice; once to feel your own emotions; feelings of disagreement or even repulsion, and the second time to really listen to the stories of the families, and hear the voices of those who are going through their own personal journeys. That is all I ask; just watch the film. You don’t have to change your mind, you don’t have to explain or defend your views to me, just be willing to hear the voices of others.

I love you so very much and all I want in my future is to have a strong, happy and honest relationship with those that mean the most in my life. I read this quote just today:

“It takes great courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

~ e.e. Cummings

This quote is true to me. Standing up, speaking out, striving for authentic relationships, being myself & loving who I am. These are my goals in life. Thank you for receiving my words, for giving my perspective consideration and for building an open and loving relationship with me.

I love you more than I can express.

I don’t know what the future holds for my relationship with my mother or even my extended family. I am aware that at this time more of my family wishes I would just stay silent then there are family members who understand my activism and my desire to advocate for change and equality. As this subject has grown deeply personal to my family it has become something that is testing the bounds of relationships, challenging the ideas of unconditional love and in some cases, shining a true light on people’s unwillingness and inabilities to consider other ideas and be open to change. I can say though that in spite of the pressure to conform, and in the the face of isolation I have reached a point in my life where I am standing confidently on my own feet, unapologetically and tirelessly ready to be a voice for reason and change. It has been a long and personal journey but I have a peace and a purpose now that I have never known before and I am proud to be a Straight Ally.

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There is an incredible song by Macklemore called Same Love which articulates so boldly the fight for equality. A portion of the song says this,

When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
….

We press play, don’t press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking ‘round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever god you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love
About time that we raised up

When my sister showed this song to my siblings and myself we listened to it on repeat for days. I remember my brother saying that he wishes there were more songs like this. I agree. In the same token, I wish there were more blogs like this.

No Freedom Till We’re Equal… Damn Right I Support It.

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This blog was retitled and published by Huffington Post in March 2013. The responses were overwhelmingly supportive and there were hundreds of positive comments written. To view the Huffington Post article click here

51 thoughts on “The Straight Ally Part 3: Taking a Stand; My Coming Out Letter

  1. I am speechless, this brought tears to my eyes. Being gay in probably the most conservative country in the Catholic world (Ok — maybe after Vatican), your piece is a welcome change.

    My heartfelt thanks to you.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. This three part series really is my heart and soul right now and writing these have been therapeutic. I am so glad that it can encourage even one other person. Please feel free to share this with anyone else that you think it would encourage.

  2. This was incredible, and so very well written…and you do have another supportive family member. I’m so proud of your courage and standing up for what is right…I love you!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement. Hearing this verifies for me that I am not the only person who has has this experience. I think there is strength in numbers and sharing with each other helps only furthers our cause. I appreciate your feedback!

      1. You know that I was raised in a similar household, where if you were gay, you were going to hell. It took me a long time to admit to myself that I was gay. I have known my entire life, but I was fearful of GOD and DAMNATION. Years of unhappiness and denial, left me a very bitter and depressed person. I was fearful of how my religious relatives would react, which included my parents.

        I finally decided, that I had to do what was right for me. To be the person I was meant to be. Some say I am a sinner, which is fine. They are sinning by judging me. I am happier than I have ever been. My wife completes me on all aspects of my life, unlike other relationships, she builds me up.

        I am lucky in the fact that my parents accept me for who I am. They have their issues with the situation, but they love and support me. They are learning to deal with this, but have been very supportive of both Lisa and I.

        I truly want to thank you for being my friend, and supporting me. You are an amazing person, and you have a way with words. Thanks again!!!

  3. Dear Ally: I have to tell you how closely your story echoes my own (of many years ago), only my parents never knew I was going to be an LGBT ally. My parents were just angry that I was making choices in my own life which were “different” than the choices THEY thought I should be making. I’m a PFLAG mom, here in Phoenix, who has a wonderful lesbian daughter, who I am sure is older than you are, and because of the way MY parents treated my decisions for my life, I always felt that my children should have the freedom to make their OWN choices for their lives, and not suffer because of what I felt was right or wrong for them, if they weren’t hurting themselves or others. I’m PROUD to have a lesbian daughter, and I would be proud to have you as my daughter, too. Straight allies are the BEST allies! We fight harder for civil and LGBT rights (one and the same) than anyone. I always wonder what happened in their lives that causes them to feel that they should make the life decisions for their children. That is so wrong. Choosing a profession, or their life partner, or their religion or lack of it is a person’s OWN RIGHT….not that of the parent, and for a parent to be angry that the child didn’t choose THEIR way seems very controlling to me.

  4. I think that some parents do “come around” in time. At least, that is what we see in PFLAG. Parents are often “hurt” at first, because they are uneducated, and think that LGBT people are just “sinners” and all they can think about is the sex…(ha), but it is possible that, given time, she may come to know some LGBT people and realize that she has been wrong. She may miss having you in her life, because you will not be around….
    Unfortunately, in my case, my parents did not “miss” me, and we did not have any relationship for the last 11 years of their lives.
    If you have siblings who do understand, you might try to build a relationship with them, and they may try to bridge the gap. I’m not sure what all the family dynamics are there. Sometimes it is worth the effort, and other times it is easier on you to just step away. For me, after years of struggle, and going back for more, I felt that it was making me ill, and I had to not go back for more at age 52. They never called me again. (but that is not every family)

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read. How awesome for your daughter to have a loving and supportive mother! I wish I heard of families like this more often. I am hoping that if we Allies keep speaking out and marching forward that the next generation will react much differently and be more accepting of diversity. I hear the same message from my PFLAG family as well, that maybe time will help with the rift in my family. Sounds cliche, but time will tell. In some ways I try to keep my hopes small so that their isn’t utter disappointment. I fear that your experience with your parents may be duplicated in my life as well, but I can’t allow that to stifle my individuality any longer. All I can think is if this is how hard it is to be an open Ally how much harder it must be to be gay and have to face such judgement… All the more inspiration for me to stand up with my loved ones so that they do not have to stand alone! Thank you for the comments and the support!

  5. You are an Incredible individual that I am lucky to call a friend….I can not begin to imagine how hard this road has and will be with you’re mother and extended family. I admire you, I respect you, and love you dearly.

    1. Thank you Megs. Your support means so much to me. I recognize though that I have far less of a struggle to face than my LGBT loved ones who have had to carry the burden of their families disapproval and judgement. Thank you for reading!

  6. You are an amazing woman Mia! I really mean that. I look at your photos and see a happy family. I wish things were better with your Mom, but never give up – you know she loves you, and hopefully you and she will find a way. I wish you, your hubby, and those adorable children, health and happiness.

  7. Good job girlie. This is great, the fact that its therapeutic validates the need for these venues. By the way nice work with the civil rights captions and pictures. Great work!

  8. I loved your blogs! You know you still have family back here that love you and will support you 110%. Myself, I do not care what your sexual preferances are, I care about that person. Just becuse they are gay or lesbian does not change who they are. I don’t think I would go as far as you have but am very proud of you for finally standing up for yourself and your beliefs. ( I know your mother all too well).
    As I have said in the past, you are alot like your Uncle Neill. Strong minded, strong willed and stands up for he belives is right, Very proud of you!

    1. This is incredible to read, Aunt Kenna. Brought tears to my eyes and an unexpected sense of relief. Thank you so much for taking the time to read but more importantly, thank you for being willing to make a statement of support. It’s been an emotional time as I’m sorting through who is still accepting of me even when I differ so much. This has been a long time coming but I can now say that I am happy and exactly where I want to be with my life. Your support really does mean the world to me. You make my transition to independence and free thought a little less lonely knowing you are in my corner. I love you and I miss you guys.

  9. I was raised in a family very different from yours: a church-going yet liberal family, a close and loving family who has MULTIPLE openly gay members, a supportive family who encourages its members to be who we were CREATED to be. Even knowing how you were raised, having been around so often and having witnessed the closed-minded actions of those near and dear to you…I am still shocked that anyone can still think and feel and act the way you have described your mother. Because in my family simply is what it is, we are made how we are made and that’s how it will be and no one is judged and ALL are LOVED and RESPECTED. You are my hero, who I strive be like, and I love you and support you always and forever, my dear, dear Friend. Can I share your blogging?
    Brooke

    1. Having a close friend such as you is what gave me perspective back when I was starting this journey. Thank you for always being an example of acceptance and love. I miss you, Friend! Yes- please pass this along. Xoxo. Thanks for being you!

  10. Whew. This is amazing, Mia. Your writing skills are beyond. I am really, really sorry for the “great gulf” between you and your Mom and pray that somehow, as you articulated so well, she will eventually get past the props and be able to be a channel for the love of Christ. Homosexuality is a difficult enigma to breach for Bible-believers, and I can’t say that I have, but I’m not writing to address that issue. I just know that love covers a multitude of sins, if permitted to do so. I have good friends with gay kids who have chosen love over condemnation, which is the only way relationship can exist. I hope you haven’t asked more from your mother than she is able to give. Love you.

    1. Thank you for extending compassion and understanding, Mrs Buck. I realize that this discussion is a very intense debate and that there is a very broad spectrum of ideas and beliefs when it comes to homosexuality. My greatest hope is that if I cannot sway someone’s thinking (which I have little expectation I can), I can at the very least open a dialog & advocate for tolerance and love because regardless of our differences we are all humans who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond.

  11. Your letter was such a refreshing flow of love, concern, an exploration of feelings and acceptance (of your Mother”s way of thinking), that I had to write. I am the mother of three adult children, a gay man, a straight man, and a lesbian daughter. When my daughter came out at the age of 20, I was heartbroken to realize that all those mother-daughter experiences would probably never come to pass (wedding, babies, shopping and salon experiences that other friends had with their daughters). Their was no question of acceptance as I had already lost my younger,(adopted), brother to the ravages of AIDS. I also had a keen awareness of the angst of a community of a people, who were besieged with the “non-closeted” animosity, open hostility, and unkind and offensive diatribe of the religious majority. When, a few years later, my oldest son came out to a family that had already accepted his uncle and his sister, but at the age of 34 had only finally felt secure enough to tell his Mom and family, I realized just how difficult this process was; and for a second time I was heartbroken to realize how alone, frightened and insecure my son must have felt for so many years. To this day I go through each day, praying that this stupid hatred and mistrust will end. To know that I have children who are hated and scorned because of who they are, hurts deeper than I can explain. Your letter did remind me of one thing however, and that is to be tolerant and forgiving of the intolerant.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you thank you thank you for taking the time to read and to respond. Your children are so lucky to have an understanding and supportive parent. I understand your feelings of protectiveness; knowing that I have loved ones and family that are vulnerable to hateful words at the least and the threat of physical violence and hate crimes at the very worst worries me and fuels me passions for activism. Thank you for reading! Please keep in communication with me as I post more on this topic. We as Straight Ally’s must continue to advocate for acceptance and tolerance.

  12. I am not your target audience, but I loved every word of your journey. I’m a 60 y/o gay man and I absolutely adore you for sharing this important story with the world. And I think you are amazing! Your activism puts me to shame. Thank you for speaking out on behalf of me and the whole sexually diverse community. I’ve shared all three parts on my FB page, and I look forward to all of your writing in the future.

    1. You may not be my target audience but YOU are the audience that I represent with my writing. I have hoped while I was writing these that the LGBT community doesn’t take offense or feel like I am out of place with my activism. The responses so far have been supportive and that is a relief. Thank you for sharing my posts and more importantly thank you for support.

  13. Mia. I saw your post first on HuffPo and followed it to your blog. I am a Southern born, gay woman. I was touched on several very different levels by your post. I apologize for this long-winded exposition. I hope you bear with me.

    I lost my own mother on my 30th birthday. We were very close in a soul-to-soul like way. I had left Southwest Virginia in large part because of its stifling, hate-filled, vitriol toward people like me. It was never much of a secret that I was gay, but I “passed” easily enough, having dated the HS QB and many frat boys, etc, etc. I could have continued to “pass” but couldn’t live with doing something that I was not willing to stand up for. I paid for that dearly, but that is not why I write.

    During my college years, my mother read a note left me by a lover. I denied what it meant, but she went nuke and fled to a psychiatrist to find out how to deal with me then sent me off to a shrink myself. It was just before my sophomore year in college and she didn’t speak to or see me for almost a year. We never openly discussed it again. I am sure she held out hope that since I continued to date some really attractive, nice, talented guys in college and later in law school that I would get through this “phase.” When it became clear, after I moved across the country to Portland and she met the woman I lived with, that I was not “phasing” out, she came to grips with it as much as she was capable. She once told me (and I quote because the words are burned into my brain), “I have learned to accept the fact that *you will never marry*, but you owe it to the world to have children (she had a mother’s inflated sense of my talents, I fear).” I was struck dumb by her acknowledgement. I still am grateful 27 years after her death for that because she said it in the 80s, a long, long time before it became remotely acceptable to be a single mother, much less a lesbian mother.

    So be of good cheer. I think that your mother will marinate in all of this. She will read your letter art some point; you have too many people on this blog who know her and will insist and bring it up to her. I don’t know how long it will take, but I truly believe your mother will also grow and come back to you.

    I wish that I had had the guts to truly come out to my mother and discuss it all openly with her; I sold her short by not doing so. And I sold our relationship short by not “forcing” her to address it openly with me. That is one of my lifelong regrets.

    You did what I lacked the courage to do. And you expressed that conflict perfectly in your post. You were willing to sacrifice a superficial relationship with the only mother you will ever have and one whom you obviously deeply love and respect in order to demand a true, honest, open, deep, and nourishing relationship with her. I salute you for that. Regardless of whether or not she ever comes around to being willing to enter into that terrifying-for-her arena with you (and I think she eventually will), you have not turned away from her, rather you have turned *to* her and held out your hand. You have invited her to be better than she thinks she can be and asked to be part of that experience with her. What more loving, exceptional thing can a child do for a parent?

    Who knows how or why her fear is so great? Certainly, the religious indoctrination coupled with society’s castigation during most of her lifetime makes for a noxious brew. But who knows what else lurks inside her fears?

    I have gone on too long here and I apologize. There are other experiences in my life which your post touched. I am not a Believer, but I have dug into scripture for various reasons and come out seeing it not noxiously at all, btw. I think it is the judgment of God’s followers rather than the judgment of God that sometimes scares people away from acceptance and love. Ironic, isn’t it?

    Finally, as a gay person in my 50s who has felt the sting of discrimination in my family (I was recently disowned by my eldest brother who called me an “atheistic homo”, just the most recent example), my profession, in housing, and in general… I simply say “Thank you, Mia.” You straight allies are the ones who most effectively carry the battle. We carry it by coming out and being who we are. You carry it by standing by us and loving and being willing to be the ones who say “Stop this insanity.”

    I will never forget the first time I saw someone in Portland sporting a lapel pin that said “Straight but Not Narrow.” That is who you are. You have no idea whose lives you touch who may never tell you about it. But every time you make a stand, I guarantee you, people see it. People feel it. People who need it most are touched by you.

    Thank you is not enough but it is the only thing I have.

    Jill Otey, Portland, Or.

    1. Wow.

      I am moved to tears by your writing here. Saying “thank you” does not do justice to the gratitude I am feeling for your transparent discourse here.

      First- your story is amazing. It has been such an honor to read so many stories of individuals who have has to live lives of isolation and pain but yet have come out on top, standing tall and representing the LGBT community so well. I am so sorry to read that your brother even recently has treated you so badly. Do you listen to Seth Andrews podcast “The Thinking Atheist” by any chance? He released a podcast in January paralleling homosexuality to atheism and opened up a very thought provoking dialog on the subject.

      I am amazed that even after the years of discomfort between you and your mother that you two were able to restore your connection. I can’t say that my mother and I have the same sou connection, but if there was any way we could I would be so thankful for it. I am so sad to read that you lost your mother on your 30th birthday. This is so very tragic and I have no idea how you got through something like that. I am so sorry.. . In spite of the strain that was on your relationship with her it sounds like she was a ver loving person who was able to arrive at a place of love and acceptance. I wonder if you did go on to bless this world with children?

      I have a legitimate concern that once my mother finds out about this blog and the national- even international coverage that it has gained- that any hope of reconciliation will be lost. I fear that publicizing this will douse gasoline on an already smoldering bridge. Time will tell. I do love her and its not my desire to excoriate her with my post. All I wanted to accomplish with this was to encourage someone else who is walking the same path and maybe, just maybe have the opportunity to open someone else’s thinking. The responses on HuffPo have been overwhelmingly positive but the feedback from my family and close circle of friends has been mostly lukewarm to icy cold. I think the saying holds true that its alright if we criticize our loved one but no one else is aloud to.

      No apology needed for the time you took to write me. I was on the edge of my seat reading your thoughts. You are very engaging and I would sincerely love to hear more from you. Your encouragement means more to me than I can express and your support is greatly appreciated.

      Please keep in touch.

      Love – MM

      1. Hey Mia. Thanks for your response. And yes, let’s keep in touch.

        In answering your questions, my mom dying on my 30th birthday actually was a blessing. Instead of the bad things that most people think of when they hear that, it is a special gift in my mind. It makes our relationship very circular and completes that circle in some way. I always quietly celebrate my mother’s life on my birthday; it is always one of the very first thoughts in my mind when I awaken on those days.

        No, I did not go on to have children, another of my lifelong regrets. Had I been in a long term relationship in my early to mid thirties, I absolutely would have. However, timing is not something one can control and I am sorry to admit that I was not ready to let someone in like that when I could have made a family with her.

        As to my brother? Que sara. I cannot be responsible for his paucity of spirit. Does it hurt? Of course. But it is his loss. That is the way I have approached all people since I decided to be fully who I am. I took that step in the early 80s and it was not an easy thing to do at that time (not that it is ever easy). But it was right for me and living in Portland certainly helped, though it was still very difficult.

        As to your mom and friends/family… as a person who is no longer a spring chicken, I can attest that time is the only healer of some wounds. I cannot guarantee that your mother or those others of whom you speak will come around. But I suspect they will and sooner than you think. Not without your having to suffer through some anguish yet, but things will change. And if not? You still have the inner peace of knowing that what you are doing is the right thing, the loving thing, the moral thing. There is no price on inner peace. It is too valuable and too elusive.

        Take care.

        Jill

  14. I thought your letter to your mother was absolutely beautiful. You have true grace and integrity. Whatever’s meant to be will be, but you did an amazing thing.
    Sash

  15. I just wanted to say that I thought your letter to your mother was absolutely beautiful. You have true grace, integrity and bravery. Whatever’s meant to be will be, but you did a truly amazing thing.

    Sash

  16. You are very courageous. I thank you for your words and support and for raising your children in such a loving and accepting way. I pray one day these times of struggle and bullying and torn apart families will be just a just a sad but distant memory. And I pray for reconciliation for you and your mother. I do believe that one day the Lord will wipe away every tear from our faces and we will all see a face or two in Heaven that we didn’t expect to see.
    I’m reminded of a quote by Mother Teresa “If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another.”

    1. I love this quote from Mother Theresa- thank you so much for sharing it. I may have to use this in a near blog posting. Thank you for the kind words and the supportive wishes. I appreciate your taking the time to read and write !

  17. hey there sweet and kind hearted cousin of mine. you should be proud of this blog. it seems like you are helping a lot of people. as i told you before i feel that we are all born into our sexual preferences. i simply don’t understand the other point of view and further, i don’t understand the resistance, hate, and judgment. after all, aren’t the people who judge and hate born with their own preferences? i feel god is kind and would never punish someone for simply being born a certain way.

    1. Your words are very encouraging. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit the blog and more importantly, for writing. I agree with you – I often ask the same question: “weren’t you born a heterosexual? When did you chose to be straight? If homosexuality is a choice then can’t you chose to be gay instead of straight?” I heard a quote lately from Seth Andrews that said “Anything that is the answer to everything is really the answer to nothing”. It think that applies in this debate as well- pat answers and programmed dismissals of our argument aren’t valid points at all.

  18. The Paradigm Shift Toward Marriage Equality

    I was once a bigot. My parents and my era taught me wrong. In the expanse of a long life, I woke up and changed my mind. In penance for my youthful zealotry, I am compelled to share this insight with other bigots so they will recognize blindness to be a necessary step toward their enlightenment. I was once blind. But now I see.

    The unenlightened mistakenly superimpose onto the Modern Age antiquated conventions of 100+ generations past once forged by an emerging, but naïve, culture of man. Today, this festering anachronism persecutes innocent homosexuals who suffer daily bigotry, hatred, and even death because of worn-out beliefs.

    The paradigm shift has unique sensations about it. When brainwashed bigots begin the course of illumination, they resist. Goodness willing, slowly over decades — through observation, insight, reason, empathy, compassion, understanding, and release — the mind begins to open. The shoulders let go the heavy weight of prejudice. The heart lays bare its natural desire to love and treat everyone equally. And, the soul ascends briefly into Samadhi, Nirvana, Heaven. This is the awakening. Acceptance, appreciation, and celebration of our diverse humanity replace prejudice, animosity, and hatred. This is enlightenment. Cleansing of human character occurs within the evolution of the human mind.

    The present day paradigm shift toward marriage equality is soon to bring FREEDOM FOR ALL, not just the “chosen ones.” Thanks to the wisdom and courage of a majority of Supreme Court justices!
    — Retired California Teacher, 65, Heterosexual

  19. FREEDOM RIDE LESGAYBITRANSQUE

    Defy discrimination. Boycott bigotry.
    Denounce dogma. Banish bullies.

    Cultivate change. Encourage empathy.
    Inspire insight. Revitalize reason. Deactivate disinformation.
    Deconstruct preconceptions. Reconstruct character.

    Rediscover self. Purge pain.
    Explore scruples. Disengage guilt.
    Close chapters. Open closets.

    Humanize homosexuality.
    Nurture narratives. Champion paragons.
    Rekindle respect. Demand dignity.

    Mend families. Compel comrades. Rally allies.
    Command crowds. Mobilize masses. Globalize ideals.

    Shift paradigms. Reset standards. Envision equality.
    Challenge convention. Elevate ethics. Revise rules.
    Celebrate diversity!

    Trust time. Practice persistence. Pledge patience.
    Confirm convictions. Consign commitment.
    Marshal movement. Maintain momentum.

    Delay gratification. Overcome obstacles.
    Redefine normality. Modernize morality.
    Reform matrimony. Reunite scouts.

    Transform tradition. Civilize civilization.
    Embrace enlightenment. Reshape reality.

    Welcome awakening. Recognize redemption.
    Laugh fearlessly. Liberate love!

    –Carol Anne, Retired California Teacher, 66, Heterosexual

    You don’t have to be lesgaybitransque
    to appreciate and understand the
    unfairness and humiliation
    of prejudice and discrimination.

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